Saturday, June 02, 2007

Taking up a transcontinental offer...

It is an all-new experience for me to board a flight fly and wander in the streets of a new country ('comma' is not working in keyboard)...
I am taking up an offer of working as a Lecturer in Mechanical Engg. in Eritrea - a North-East African country near Ethiopia.
We (four in number of which three for teaching profession in the same college) reached Asmara - the state capital on Sunday night (27th May 2007) at 10.00 p.m. via Dubai and were taken care of by one Mr. Hagose who took us to Niala Hotel in Asmara . Next day he asked us to go to Ministry of Education (10 minutes walk) and offered us a cup of Cappachinno ( coffee with more milk!). Yesterday he gave us forms of Contract Residence and Work permit. Today morning we went to M.O.E. and handed over a copy of our provisional appointment order. They asked us to come by 3.00 p.m.
Only tomorrow or on Friday they will take us to the college (!!!) at Mai-Nefhi – Eritrea Institute of Technology (E.I.T.).
Till this week end we have to stay in Niala only I think. Then I will get accommodation in EIT.
IST is 2 1/2 hours ahead of Asmara time . Now it is 9.15 a.m. here. In India it will be 11.45 a.m.
Here it is hard to find Indian food except for some rice (big grains!) served with vegetable curry in Niala. Then we get Veg. Sandwich and Pizza (dry ones!). Machiato is good - a coffee with less milk!
Everything is very costly here. A phone to my wife for 2 minutes and 40 seconds costed 109 nakfas (fairly 320 rupees!) . Today they will give some advance in local currency to meet our food expenses. Only accommodation is free at Niala.
As such the weather and other conditions are good here. People too but they find it hard to understand English. Less of pollution and tension - people are cool and calm and above that very honest...really!
The city is busy in the evening hours with lot of boys and girls standing in the road sides and chatting among them. Caffetarias are filled with students in evening hours. We got introduced to some Indians (all are teachers / lecturers). They make us feel at home in this new place and guide us about what is all about this offer.
Getting SIM card will take some time here . It needs work permit or so. I paid 629 nakfas as tax for using cell phone (multiply by 3!) and 100 dollars for Entry Visa immediately after landing at Asmara.
I'll update this post later...